The US has decided to withdraw from the optional protocol on disputes of the Vienna Convention, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday, citing a Palestinian lawsuit challenging America’s move to shift its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as the reason. The announcement by the White House came soon after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced to terminate the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran.
Iran made a mockery of the treaty with its support for terrorism, provocative ballistic missile proliferation and malign behaviour throughout the Middle East, Bolton told reporters at a White House news conference. “In addition to the Treaty of Amity, I am announcing that the president has decided that the United States will withdraw from the Optional Protocol and Dispute Resolution to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” Bolton said.
“This is in connection with a case brought by the so-called state of Palestine naming the United States as a defendant, challenging our move of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he said. Bolton, simultaneously underscored that the US remained a party to the underlying Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and it expects all other parties to abide by their international obligations under the convention.
The top Trump administration official insisted that the two actions were consistent with the decisions former US President Ronald Reagan made in the 1980s in the wake of the politicised suits against the US by Nicaragua to terminate its acceptance of the Optional Compulsory Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice under Article 36-2 of the ICJ statute, and his decision to withdraw from a bilateral treaty with Nicaragua.
“It is also consistent with the decision President Bush made in 2005 to withdraw from the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations following the ICJ’s interference in our domestic criminal justice system,” he said.
Bolton also said the administration was reviewing all international agreements that could expose it to binding decisions by the International Court of Justice saying it was politicised and ineffective. The US in May opened its embassy in Jerusalem under a controversial move by President Donald Trump, amid a bloodbath right on the border with Gaza where Israeli soldiers shot dead at least 52 Palestinians in clashes, in the deadliest escalation of violence since 2014.
President Donald Trump announced the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December, when he formally recognised the holy city as the capital of Israel, breaking away from decades of US neutrality on the sensitive issue.